image Photo: Reuters

UN kicks Iran out of women’s commission

The Islamic Republic was ousted from the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for its policies contrary to the rights of women and girls.

By Erin Viner

The move comes in response to Tehran’s brutal crackdown on protests sparked by the 16 September death of  22-year-old Mahsa Amini in custody following her arrest by the so-called “morality police” for attire deemed insufficiently Islamic. Iranians from layers of society have taken to the streets in a popular revolt to express outrage over her killing and the suppression of human rights by clerical rulers in the country, with many calling for the ousting or deaths of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi. The Ayatollah regime has blamed Israel and Western nations of trying to launch civil war in the country, as it grapples to deal with one of the toughest challenges since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

29 members voted in favor of the United States-proposed resolution to “remove with immediate effect the Islamic Republic of Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women for the remainder of its 2022-2026 term.” There eight who opposed the measure and 16 abstentions.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told ECOSOC ahead of the vote that removing Iran was the right thing to do, describing the country’s membership as an “ugly stain on the commission’s credibility.”

Tehran’s UN Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani slammed Washington’s initiative as illegal and called it a bully.

The 45-member Commission on the Status of Women meets annually every March in efforts to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Iran, 17 other states and the Palestinians had argued in a letter to ECOSOC on Monday that a vote “will undoubtedly create an unwelcome precedent that will ultimately prevent other Member States with different cultures, customs and traditions … from contributing to the activities of such Commissions.”

Only five of the signatories to the letter, however, are currently ECOSOC members who were able to cast votes on Wednesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid praised the UN decision.

“Israel commends ECOSOC’s decision to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women. Israel supported this resolution,” he said, underscoring that, “Iran’s killing of Mahsa Amini and its blatant violations of women’s rights disqualify it from being a member of a committee that deals with women’s rights.”

Underscoring that the vote serves as “proof that the international community is beginning to understand more and more the dangerous nature of the Iranian regime: a regime which is endangering regional and global stability through spreading terror and is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon, all while it oppresses its own people and denies them their basic rights,” the Israeli leader emphasized that, “It’s time for the international community to send a clear message to this murderous regime.”

The Islamic Republic on Monday hanged a man in public who state media said had been convicted of killing two members of the security forces. The execution was the second execution in less than a week of people involved in protests against Iran’s ruling theocracy.

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted last month to appoint an independent investigation into Iran’s deadly repression of protests, passing the motion to cheers of activists. Tehran accused Western states of using the council to target Iran in an “appalling and disgraceful” move.